Web Hosting

Pros Offers Windows, Unix hosting. Easy email setup.

Cons Expensive entry-level options. No VPS or dedicated hosting. Unclear refund policy. Bottom Line offers the Web hosting basics, but its high cost of entry and lackluster features may turn off potential customers. There are better alternatives out there.

By Fahmida Y. Rashid

Every business needs a phone number, an email address, and a website. Web hosting servers can offer simple pages with basic business details, a full-blown e-commerce store, or something in between. (starting at $14.95 per month) offers all those things in addition to the domain registration capabilities for which it is best known, but its site-management tools are harder to than those of Arvixe, PCMag's Editors' Choice for Web hosting services, nor is its feature set as robust as Arvixe's. Businesses can set up a modern-looking website fairly quickly, but the process is much harder than it needs to be. I tested's basic Essential Web hosting plan, which comes with a built-in site builder and third-party application support. I spent only $5.95 to get started, which is by far the lowest start-up cost I've seen for a Web service. But that's just a smokescreen for the fact that is one of the more expensive options, once you get past the initial signup.

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Three Shared Web Hosting Packages offers three tiers of shared Web hosting: Essential (starting at $14.95 per month), Professional (starting at $18.95 per month), and Premium (starting at $44.95), for 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year contracts. When you look at the page, though, you won't easily find these prices listed. displays its promotional price, which applies only to the first month. Those promotional prices are Essential for $5.95, Professional for $7.95, and Premium for $11.95. But that is only the first month's pricing. If I was commiting to a one-year contract for the Essential plan, I wouldn't see $71.40, which is what I would've expected, because of the way prices are displayed. Instead, the final price would be $170.40. It's a bit of a sticker shock if you are paying attention to the numbers.

The basic plan, Essential, offers 300GB of storage space, unlimited bandwidth, a free domain, 10 mailboxes with 50GB of space for each, and 25 FTP accounts. The Professional plan offers everything Essential does, with 500GB of space, 25 mailboxes at 125 GB of storage, and 50 FTP accounts. The Premium plan has unlimited storage and bandwidth, but email is still capped at 25 mailboxes. While the items themselves are sufficient, they feel expensive, especially when Arvixe offers multiple domains with its basic account, and iPage and Dreamhost offer unlimited storage with its entry-level plans. That said, has a few perks of its own. You get access to AWStats and a shared SSL certificate right off the bat. If you need fancier options or dedicated support, also offers specialized website-builder plans and email packages, which I'll discuss later. offers one free domain per plan, but that's only if you register .com, .net, .org. info, or .biz.

Sometimes you need more power, expect high-traffic volumes, or just don't want to have a shared Web hosting plan. Many companies, Dreamhost and Arvixe included, offer virtual and dedicated Web hosting packages. doesn't. It does, however, offer Windows and Unix hosting.

If you are curious what's money-back guarantee is, you won't find it anywhere on the site. Even the link, "Please click here to review our refund policy," doesn't take you to the refund policy. A customer service representative on the phone told me it was 30 days, but he couldn't explain why there was no mention of it on the site. Not having it in writing makes me nervous. I'd stick with Dreamhost's 97-day money-back guarantee, personally.

Setting Up My Website is perhaps one of the most confusing Web hosting platforms I've tested. I logged into my account portal, and practically every link that looked like it was about building my website took me to a page offering to upgrade me to a Build-Your-Website plan. These plans offered better templates and website-building tools. In fact, the account portal's primary goal seemed to get me to buy more services.

I knew the Essential plan came with a website builder tool, but I needed to call customer service just to find it. I had to click on the name of the hosting service from my user account to launch the dashboard for managing my website. The dashboard itself looked fairly standard; it was just hard to find.


I clicked on Edit My Site to launch the website builder, which is a template-driven interface. It was easy enough to select a template, modify layouts and colors, add new pages, and publish. The resulting site was modern-looking and slick. I liked that I could add contact forms, social media links, and other elements as well. notes that most users prefer to build their websites elsewhere and then transfer the files up using FTP or the File Manager tool. I can believe that, given how much trouble I had finding the site-building tools!

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